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"COFFEE WILL SOBER YOU UP" - DRINK-DRIVING MYTHS YOU PROBABLY BELIEVE...

...but you could end up breaking the law

From sucking a copper coin to drinking coffee - we smash the myths that could land you in bother with the police.

We all know that it's illegal to drink and drive over the national limit or take drugs and get behind the wheel.

But every year, particularly around the festive period, many drivers still choose to take a chance, bolstered by the myths that surround drink and drug driving.

While the only way to really be sure you're safe to drive is to steer well clear of drink or drugs, Frank Rogers, Head of Just Motor Law told the Liverpool Echo the truth behind those drink and drug driving myths.

He said: "Year after year clients come to me who believe some of the misconceptions about driving under the influence that have hung around for decades.

"It doesn’t help that the law allows drivers to drink alcohol up to a certain point, leaving many people confused as to just how much they can consume before they become unsafe to drive.

"However, we’re all road users, and we all have a vested interest in ensuring our roads are safe, which is why I’m keen to make sure drivers understand that many of the myths surrounding drink and drug driving are just that."

Here are the myth busters...

Myth: The magic pillow
Truth: Drivers often believe that sleeping somehow speeds up the sobering process, but unfortunately there is no ‘magic pillow’ available that drains away all the alcohol. No matter how much sleep you’ve had, if you’ve drunk a lot the night before, there’s a good chance it will still be in your system the next morning.
Myth: Sucking on a 2p coin will stop alcohol showing up on a breathalyser
Truth: One of the oldest myths in the book is the one that claims sucking on a 2p coin will reduce alcohol levels in breathalyser tests, as it is believed that the copper in the coin affects the readings. However, as rugby legend JPR Williams found to his cost when he was breathalysed back in 2010, sucking copper coins will do absolutely nothing for you, except perhaps give you a nasty bout of germ-induced diarrhoea.
Myth: Drinking coffee will sober you up
Truth: The long-held belief, perpetuated in numerous films and TV programmes, is that a cup of black coffee will catapult you out of your drink-induced haze and back into the land of the sober quicker than you can say ‘breathalyser’. However, as C4’s Food Unwrapped show proved in July of this year when they carried out an experiment involving vodka, coffee and the ‘guide the metal hoop around the wire’ game, there’s no truth to this whatsoever.
Myth: Drinking a spirit with a mixer will stop my alcohol levels from becoming too high
Truth: Unfortunately, this is not the case. A unit of alcohol, which is a single measure of most spirits, is still a unit of alcohol, whether you drink it straight or mix it with a pint of coke.
Myth: Drinking with a meal will stop you getting drunk
Truth: Unfortunately, eating won’t stop alcohol from getting into your bloodstream – it will just delay it, so it may actually take longer for the drink to pass through your system. Plus, because of the trickle effect in which the alcohol is entering your body, you may feel as though you’ve consumed less alcohol than you actually have, which could put you at risk of believing you’re safe to drive.
Myth: Using a mouth spray will stop you smelling of alcohol
Truth: Far from removing the problem, using a mouth spray can actually add to it, as most mouth sprays contain alcohol, so will boost the alcohol level reading if you are breathalysed
Myth: If I pass the breathalyser test I can’t be prosecuted for drink driving
Truth: While the breathalyser may state that you’re not over the limit (if you have less than 35 micrograms of every alcohol for ever 100 millilitres of breath), if the police stop you for careless driving, then any level of reading of alcohol could cause them to charge you with being in charge of a vehicle while unfit to drive.
Myth: If you are caught driving under the influence of drink and drugs, you’ll only be prosecuted for one of them
Truth: If you use more than one drug or use both drugs and alcohol before driving and fail both tests, the resulting conviction will take both offences in to account, resulting in a heavier penalty including a longer ban
Myth: If I’m caught just sitting in the driver’s seat, but not actually driving, I can’t be charged
Truth: Even if the engine is off, if you are sitting in the car with the car keys, you can be prosecuted for being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit to drive.
Myth: If I stay off the roads at rush hour, I won’t be caught
Truth: When it comes to drink driving, there are simply no ‘safe zones’ in which drivers can avoid being caught. If you fear you could still be under the influence, put down your car keys and call a taxi instead.
Myth: I took drugs on Friday night, so I’ll be safe to drive by Monday morning
Truth: Drugs can stay in your system for seven to ten days – or even longer - and the police don’t have to prove that your driving is impaired; only that you are over the limit for that drug.
Myth: As long as I’m within the legal limit, I’m safe to drive
Truth: Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Alcohol can affect different people in different ways; some people could have just one drink and feel light-headed, while others could have three and still feel sober. It’s the same with drugs.
Myth: Even if I get caught, it’s only a few points on my licence
Truth: A conviction for drink or drug driving can result in a minimum 12-month driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, and a criminal record. Anyone convicted of causing a death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will face even more severe penalties – including up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.
Myth: As long as I stick to two drinks, I’m safe to drive
Truth: It’s not as clear-cut as that. The alcohol level limits in England and Wales are set as 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, and 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, but it’s impossible to say what that equates to drinks-wise, as it differs from person to person.
Myth: As long as I’m within the legal limit, I’m safe to drive
Truth: Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Alcohol can affect different people in different ways; some people could have just one drink and feel light-headed, while others could have three and still feel sober. It’s the same with drugs.
Myth: Even if I get caught, it’s only a few points on my licence
Truth: A conviction for drink or drug driving can result in a minimum 12-month driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, and a criminal record. Anyone convicted of causing a death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will face even more severe penalties – including up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.
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